Social media ads have seen rapid spending increases in recent years, and that increasing flow of money is having a profound effect on social advertising’s status as a consumer purchase influencer. That’s according to an exclusive new primary research study from MarketingCharts, the 3rd annual “Advertising Channels with the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers” report conducted with SurveyMonkey Audience.
Social ads’ stated influence on purchases has risen considerably over the past 2 years across all demographic groups identified in the report. As a result, social ads now are said to influence purchases for more American adults than radio ads, despite having lower reach among the adult population.
Not surprisingly, social ads have their largest impact on youth. This year, 1 in 5 Millennials (18-34) surveyed report having made a purchase in the prior 6 months due to ads on social networks. That marks a 65% jump from the 2014 study, in which fewer than 1 in 8 (12.1%) reported such an influence from social ads.
That increase catapults social ads into the realm of the top purchase influencers for Millennials. Ads on social platforms outrank direct mail, radio, print and a host of other media as stated purchase influencers for this demographic, and are closing in on the top paid medium, TV advertising (cited by 25.8% as having led to a purchase).
Part of social ads’ rise in perceived influence can probably be attributed to their greater presence. In a new addition this year, the study ranks the media in which consumers feel most exposed to advertising. The top response for Millennials? Social media.
The next-leading location for Millennials’ ad exposure is smartphones, a result that is likely tied to the prominence of social media use on these devices, and which makes sense in light of recent research indicating that Millennials believe ad clutter is a bigger issue on smartphones than on other devices.
That exposure to advertising is also having an affect on perceived purchase influence. Mobile display ads – particularly smartphone display ads – have risen up the purchase influence rankings across most demographic groups analyzed in the report, though the trend hasn’t been as pronounced for affluents, who still lean most towards traditional media.
Still, TV ads continue to be the largest purchase influencer, maintaining strong impact across generations even as youth gravitate away from traditional TV. The same can’t be said for online video ads, which surprisingly have seen little uptick in stated purchase influence despite widening reach.
The study – along with an accompanying Excel workbook detailing the full survey results across all demographic groups – is available for purchase here. The 47-page report is packed with 42 charts and tables, and measures consumers’ stated attention to advertisers, exposure to advertising, and purchase influencers across a host of media and channels. These include: word-of-mouth; TV ads; online reviews; opt-in emails; direct mail; print newspaper and magazine ads; radio; social networks; search engines; TV product placements; promotional products; mobile display; outdoor; online video; cinema ads; and videogame ads.
All results are analyzed across genders, generations and household incomes. The report is based on a survey of 2,112 US adults using SurveyMonkey Audience, a proprietary high-quality online panel. Target quotas were set by generation for consistency with prior editions of the survey.